What are reading assistants, and how can they help me?

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Accessibility on August 29, 2022
Are you wondering, "What are reading assistants, and how can they help me?" We have the answers to all your reading assistants and text-to-speech questions!

    What are reading assistants, and how can they help me?

    Reading assistants can be rather helpful for people who struggle with reading, but they can also be a wonderful tool for people learning a new language, children learning to read, and classroom teachers. Keep reading to find out what reading assistants are and how to find the right one for your needs!

    What reading assistants are

    Reading or teaching assistants are innovative tools that can help students that struggle with reading. These are often a combination of speech recognition and text-to-speech tools, and they can be very helpful. Reading assistant apps can be useful for individual student learning as well as in small groups.

    Combining these two technologies also allows reading assistant apps to “listen to” the students, which significantly improves communication. Of course, these virtual reading assistants can never fully replace full-time teacher’s assistant—however, they are an excellent supplemental tool and can improve student learning when a teacher’s assistant or teacher aide is not available in the classroom.

    How reading assistants help students

    When it comes to reading disabilities, dyslexia is the most common condition people experience. In fact, one in every five people suffers from dyslexia. Reading disabilities can affect learning, and if a person can’t read, they may have a difficulty succeeding in the classroom and can develop negative feelings of self-worth.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that people with dyslexia can’t read. It’s just that this activity takes them more time and effort than the average person due to the nature of their brain. Reading many pages of text, especially during a time-limited test, can increase reading anxiety for people with dyslexia.

    So, the simplest way to overcome these obstacles with reading is to use a tool that will read the text for you for out loud. Additionally, thirty percent of the population are auditory learners, regardless of if they have dyslexia or another learning disability. This means the text-to-speech feature of reading assistants can be helpful for all types of students.

    Reading assistants can help in schools, after-school childcare, at home, and even professional development—and they are an excellent tool if you want to create a healthy learning environment. This is why reading assistants can also be a perfect option for special educational needs and a great tool for teachers looking to improve their reading strategy lesson plans.

    How to get a reading assistant for your child

    So, how do you enable reading assistants for your child if you are a parent and not a teacher? First, you should know that these apps are available on all types of devices, which is the main thing that will determine how to start them. You just need to make sure the reading assistant app you choose works on your device (PC, Macbook, Android, iPad, etc.).

    Many devices and operating systems today already come with pre-installed reading assistant tools, so you might not need to download anything new based on your device and your preferences for a reading assistant app. But if you want to explore reading assistants and text-to-speech software in a whole new light, the best option is to download an app or program.

    These apps are available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and virtually all devices/operating systems. The best thing about them is that they are easy to use. Once you turn these on, the AI voice will be able to read the text for you or for your child as they follow along with the text.

    Use Speechify

    If you are looking to get an incredible text-to-speech (TTS) app as a reading assistant, Speechify is the way to go. The app will work on any device you can imagine, and the quality is exceptional. You can also use it on your web browser, which will allow you to convert any type of text into audio. This means your child’s favorite educational websites can be enhanced with Speechify’s text-to-speech features.

    Once you install the app or the Chrome extension, you can instantly and easily adjust the text-to-speech settings. You can adjust speed of the voice, the quality of the voice, and so much more. The app is available in English language, but it supports over a dozen other languages as well.

    Each AI voice sounds incredibly realistic, which is one of many reasons why Speechify has millions of satisfied users. Another excellent functionality you won’t find on other apps is OCR. Using the OCR feature will allow you to convert physical documents into speech by taking a picture of the page and uploading it to the app.

    For general TTS users, you can easily multitask while listening to news articles, going for a walk, or while relaxing at home. Speechify is quite versatile, and high-quality voices will make you fall in love with it.

    For students such as children with dyslexia or language learners, Speechify opens up a whole new world where anything can instantly be read aloud to them in natural-sounding voices. Users can even choose to follow along with Speechify as the app can highlight the text as it reads out loud.

    Benefits of using a reading assistant

    There are a couple of benefits to reading assistants you will notice. First, it eliminates the need for visually reading text, which can be a huge time-saver for so many people. Apps like Speechify are excellent for improving accessibility, and they work on all types of devices. 

    At the same time, these apps can be an excellent tutor that will help your child improve their reading skills. Naturally, there are no age limitations when it comes to Speechify. The app works for students in high-school, college students studying for a Bachelor’s degree, and anyone else. 

    Guided reading is great for students in the classroom, it can promote child development, improve oral reading fluency, literacy skills, and do wonders for communication skills. Moreover, having young children hear the text read aloud will serve as a best reading program. 

    Finally, reading assistants are quite useful for bilingual people or those learning a new language, as they can help people understand correct pronunciations, phonics, new words, and dynamics of a language. It is something many public schools might want to consider using in their reading classes and foreign language classes.

    FAQs

    What do reading assistants do?

    Reading assistants are tools that help people learn better and easier, especially if people have some form of reading disability. They turn text into speech and allow the reader to follow along as the voice reads out loud. Having a chance to hear the text instead of reading it on your own will make a world of difference for so many people.

    How can you help someone to read?

    The key is patience. One option is to focus on the content of the text and to use text-to-speech tools such as Speechify, which are able to instantly convert written text into audio. 

    What are some of the benefits of reading assistance?

    Reading assistance can save time and speed up the process, especially if someone struggles with reading. There are numerous tools that can help along the way, and one of the most popular ones is Speechify, which is a text-to-speech app.

    Apps for reading assistance will assist the whole class, and they are tools that will serve as a teacher’s aide. They don’t eliminate the need for teachers and assistants, but they certainly help. 

    What is the difference between reading and comprehension?

    Reading is the ability to speak the words that appear on the page. Comprehension, on the other hand, is the ability to understand the written text. It is possible for someone to read the text but not be able to understand the meaning behind it.

    Recent Blogs

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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